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Crusader – Airborne HD Video Recorder

Single, Two, Three, or Four Channel Recorder for Aviation


The Next Generation Airborne Video Recorder

The Crusader is a rugged HD GPS enabled video recorder designed for professional aviation applications.   The Crusader can record one, two, three, or four: HDMI, 3G-SDI, HD-SDI, SD-SDI, or CVBS video streams in an easy to use black box form factor.  Features such as GPS automation, audio mixing, and wifi streaming make the Crusader one of the most advanced recorders on the market.


The Crusader supersedes the RV-ONE with more features and a more rugged design.


  • Aerial Patrol, Mapping
  • Flight Testing
  • Airborne Law Enforcement
  • Mission Recording/Debriefing



Capture HD Video
The Crusader is built on a powerful encoding platform which can encode full HD 1080p60 video from a variety of sources.  The Crusader can be operated as a stand-alone single channel recorder or stacked and operated in synchronous as a two, three, or four channel recorder.

HD Video

The Crusader can record video up to 1080p60 using the same high quality compression algorithms as Blu-Ray.  Accepting a variety of inputs, compatible video sources include: 3G-SDI, HD-SDI, and SD-SDI as well as HDMI/DVI and even composite (NTSC and PAL).

Stack 3 units together

Video can be recorded in it’s full native resolution or down sampled by cropping or scaling.  Video is recorded as an .AVI file using h.264 compression at up to 16mbps or MJPEG compression with bitrates up to 55mbps.  Video can be played back using most standard media players and edited in nearly any post process software.

Multiple Channels

Crusader recorders are expandable up to four channels.  Multiple Crusader’s operate in synchronous using a multi-link cable which allows for recording via a single switch while also synchronizing audio and GPS inputs to all units.  Stacking brackets make for a clean installation while still maintaining the ability to operate recorders separately.

GPS Automation

The Crusader can operate with manual control, complete automation, or automation with manual override.  Using GPS the Crusader has the option of: starting/stopping recording, playing audio including safety messages, soundtracks, narrations or any MP3 file, capturing snapshot images from cameras, and overlaying text data on the video.  These events are triggered based on GPS way points, heading, waypoints and heading, speed, or time. GPS automation allows for complete black-box style operation recording video any time a pilot leaves the helipad, or exceeds a certain range.  GPS automation can also be used as a fail safe, manually controlling recording if the pilot forgets to.

Overlay GPS Data and Text

A robust text overlay function allows for various datum to be displayed on the recorded video.  Text overlay can be configured to display different: fonts, sizes, colors, and locations.  Text can be generated from: the GPS, the recorder menu, or external RS-232.  Up to three lines of custom ASCII text can be overlaid onto the video by sending the following sentence structure via RS-232 – $ASCII,TEXT LINE 1, TEXT LINE 2, TEXT LINE 3,. ASCII text can be updated at 20Hz, ideal for displaying custom parameters, such as telemetry.

Parameter Source Units
Altitude (Above Mean Sea Level) GPS AMSL: M, F
Heading GPS Degrees
Coordinates GPS N, W: DMS, DM, D
Time/Date Unit or GPS MM/DD/YYYY HH:MM:SS
Custom Text User (Menu) TEXT

Note: Large amounts of data overlay options may limit encoding performance.

USB and SD Media

USB-SD Record video via USB to drives as large as 2TB (terabytes) for over 300 hours of video.  As a general rule, HD video will require ~4GB per hour of record time.  By using these universal media types, it streamlines the download and playback process making it easy to view and transfer video on any PC or Mac. A built-in SD slot allows for loading of pre-recorded MP3’s, including soundtracks, narrations, and safety messages.  The SD card also contains the optional automation path that defines the waypoints, and other events that can automatically trigger: recording, text overlay, snapshots, and playing of audio.

WiFi Streaming & Live Viewing

The recorder features a WiFi option as well as Ethernet connectivity which allows for streaming HD video to your iPad, PC, or capable tablet.  WiFi also allows for easy access to the system menus for setting changes.  Video can also be streamed via Ethernet for over a LAN or WAN. The Crusader recorder loops through video inputs with no latency allowing for live viewing on a dedicated monitor.  Since the output is a loop through, any monitor that is compatible with the camera would be compatible for live viewing.  Rugged Video also offers a line of rugged monitors.  

Advanced Audio
Video is only part of the experience.  The Crusader is designed to capture crisp vivid audio from various sources including: Aircraft Headsets, iPods, Amplified Microphones, and MP3.  A built-in professional audio amplifier and mixer allows for the seamless integration of external and pre-recorded MP3 audio.

Connecting Aircraft AudioHEADSET

Audio cables are available for General Aviation, Helicopter (U174), and Bose headsets.  Cables are available to connect directly to an audio panel or as a headset pass through.  With these cables, the Crusader will record everything you hear and say, including ATC transmissions.  For aerial patrol, the Narrator push-to-talk control box is an available option so that spotters can narrate the video on command.

Connecting Auxiliary Audio

The Crusader can also record audio from standard auxiliary sources, such as an iPod or MP3 player.  Standard input cables include: 3.5mm(1/8″) TRS jacks (also known as a headphone jack), 1/4″ audio inputs from professional audio sources, and XLR connectors from professional microphones.

Automated Audio

Using GPS Automation, MP3 files such as: soundtracks, narrations, and safety messages can be loaded and played based on GPS or manually selected be the pilot.  MP3 audio is mixed along with headset or auxiliary audio inputs using the two volume adjustment knobs on the front of the unit.

Robust Data
The Crusader features a robust GPS data integration for Aerial Patrol, Survey and Mapping, and Mission recording applications.  The Crusader  has the option for an external data input from a GPS or other RS-232 source.

GPS Data Logging

The GPS option includes a Garmin 18x LVC or 18x 5Hz GPS Receiver Antenna with a plug-and-play connector.  Most standard external GPS sources may be used, including: GPS pucks, portable GPS receivers, and Flight Decks.  Custom adapter cables are made to order for external GPS sources. GPS data is recorded along with a video file as a .KML or .GPX companion file.  GPS files can be syncronized with the video and stop and start at the same time as the video.  KML and GPX GPS data files can be viewed and played  back in third party software, such as Google Earth.  Recorded KML data includes lat, long, and altitude information.  GPX files include lat, long, altitude, speed, heading, and optional waypoint information.  GPX files also support the waypoint feature which allows operators to “Tag” a specific point of interest along the flight path in real-time.

Rs-232 Data

The Crusader can accept data from various RS-232 sources with options available to overlay and record this data along with video.  Three lines of ASCII character data can be overlaid on the recorded video.  The Crusader will parse and overlay ASCII data that is sent via RS-232 and follows the defined sentence structure:  “$ASCII,TEXT LINE 1, TEXT LINE 2, TEXT LINE 3”.  Each line of data can be configured to appear on the recorded video with custom positioning, size, font, and color.

GPS Automation

Data is passed through the built-in Automator unit which can also parse custom data sources.  Custom changes and features for customer are low cost and usually can be completed in just a few days.

Internal Power Control Module
The Crusader features a robust internal power control module allowing the Crusader to operate as a blackbox, and save recordings in the event of a power failure.  In addition the Crusader PCM accepts any standard aircraft voltage from 10-32VDC with power filtering, and reverse voltage protection, in accordance with FAA standards.  Using an intelligent charging system backup power cells are recharged every time the system powers on automatically.  Best of all the charging system is built into every Crusader as a standard feature.


Complete Control

The Crusader was designed to be operated with complete GPS automation, manual control, or automation with manual override.  Manual control for record, snapshot, and waypoint along with status lights can be remotely mounted via the MultiLink connector, or operated on the front of the unit.


Using pre-defined perimeters such as: waypoint, direction, waypoint and direction, speed, and time, the Crusader can control all major functions automatically.   This includes triggering recordings, taking snapshots, playing MP3 audio, and overlaying text on the video.  Users define a these events using configuration files on the SD card.  Although the options are limitless most operators use the function to act as a blackbox, automatically recording or playing safety messages when leaving the helipad.  Automation can be overridden by the pilot at any time using manual control.

Manual Control

Recording can be controlled via the front panel with an easy to operate rotary switch.  In addition to the built-in control, recording can be wired to any discrete on/off switch, including standard toggle switches.  Snapshots and waypoints are triggered using a momentary switch, like a push button.  Switches are available as options with the Crusader or can be easily wired to existing switches.

Our most popular switch option is our Record Toggle which features a real-time record status indicator built directly into the toggle.  This type of switch is ideal for installations where the Recorder is remotely mounted and the operator needs a simple, clean interface.

Waypoint and Snapshot toggles are available as a handheld or panel mounted push buttons.  Each time the button is pressed, the system will save a snapshot from the video or tag a waypoint along the GPS path.

System Status

Simple, yet informative set of LEDs that tell the user when it is ready to record or if there is a problem.  Indicators are mounted on the front of the Crusader and indicators can be remotely mounted when the system is mounted out of view.  Indicators display: power, record status, errors, and GPS status.  Additional indicators show the status any GPS automation.




The Crusader can be configured as a single, dual, three, or four channel recorder.  The unit(s) can be ordered as BASE systems with no cameras (RV-CRUS-{X1, X2, X3, or X4}) or as a PLUS system which will include: an HD camera, cabling, and mounts (RV-PLUS-{HD19, HD29, HDX, HD30, HDZ}).

Crusader NA (Non-Automated)

Crusader is also available without the GPS automation module and front panel controls, in the RV-CRUS-NA model.  This model is best suited to applications where black box or manually controlled recordings are desired, and GPS automation is not required.  Although it does not contain a GPS automation module, the RV-CRUS-NA model can still log and overlay GPS data just like the BASE model.


Crusader comes standard with side mounting brackets.  The Crusader enclosure sides are threaded and ready for custom-fit mounting solutions as well.  MS25212 Dzus-rail mounting is also available as a standard option.

Stack 3 units together

Stack 3 units together

Multi-Sensor Gimbal Recorder

Multi-Sensor Gimbal Recorder


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SDI 3G-SDI—SMPTE 424M (1080p60, 1080p59.94, 1080p50)   HD-SDI—SMPTE 292M (1080i60, 1080i59.94, 1080i50, 1080p30, 1080p29.97, 1080p25, 720p60, 720p50, 720p30)   SD-SDI—SMPTE 259M (576i, 480i)
HDMI/DVI Single Link (DVI-D) 1920x1200p60, 1920x1200p50, 1440x900p60 1280x1024p60, 1280x1024p30, 1280x960p60, 1280x960p30 1280x960p60, 1280x960p30, 1024x768p60, 1024x768p30 800x600p60, 1080p60, 1080p50, 1080p30,1080p25 1080i60, 1080i59.94, 1080i50, 720p60, 720p50, 720p30, 720p25 480p60, 480p30, 576p50
CVBS Composite/Analog NTSC, PAL, SECAM 75ohm 1V p-p
Resolution/ Framerate Resolutions: 1920×1200, 1920×1080, 1680×1050, 1600×900, 1440×900 1280×1024, 1280×920, 1280×720, 1024×768, 800×600 640×480, 640×360, 352×288, 352×576, 352×240, 352×480 720×240, 720×288, 720×480, 720×576   Framerates: (60,50,30,25,20,15,10,8,6,5,4,3,2,1)
Compression/ Bitrate H.264 (AVC, MPEG-4 Part 10) Baseline, Main, and High Profile 32Kb/s to 16.5Mb/s   CBR or VBR   MJPEG 2Mb/s to 55Mb/s VBR
Input/ Sources External: Analog Stereo, Line Level up to 8V P-P General Aviation, Helicopter (U174), Bose 6-Pin Microphone, AUX Jack Input, RCA Input, 1/4” Input, XLR input   Internal: MP3 (Automator SD Card) Soundtracks, Narrations, Safety Messages, Background Music   Embedded: SDI, or HDMI
Output/ Destination Output to Headset(s)/Audio Panel MP3 Narrations, Soundtracks, etc. via Automator and/or Mixed Automator Audio & AUX Input (iPod, etc.)
Audio Mixing External/Internal Source Mixing Independent Level Adjust 0 to 10x Volume 2 x Master Gain
Compression AAC at 64Kb/s or 128Kb/s (32KHz, 44.1KHz, 48KHz) G.711 at 64Kb/s
Triggers Front Panel:  Power On/Off, Record   Rear Connector (Remote Mounting): Record, Snapshot, Waypoint   RF Remote: Record, Snapshot, Waypoint (Optional)
Indicators Front Panel: Power, Record, Fault, GPS   Rear Connector (Remote Mounting): Record, Fault, GPS


Event Triggering Time, Speed, Direction, Waypoint, Waypoint & Direction
Trigger Action Start/Stop Recording Take Snapshot(s) Play MP3 (Soundtrack, Narration, etc.) Overlay Custom Text on Video (Three Positions)
Input RS-232 Baud 2400 to 115200 Garmin 18x LVC, 5Hz, Garmin Aviation NAV Standard NMEA 0183
Sample Rate Overlay: 20Hz KML/GPX: 1Hz or 5Hz
Overlay Data Coordinates (Degrees, Degrees Minutes, Degrees, Minutes, Seconds) Speed (KT, MPH, KPH) Altitude (Meters, Feet) Heading (Degrees)  *VTG only Time/Date Custom (Three Lines)
GPS Companion Files KML & GPX  – Synced with Video GPS Supports Waypoints
SD SD, SDHC, SDXC (For MP3 & Automation Information)
USB USB 2.0/3.0 ( 6MB/s write speed or better) up to 2TB Supports Most USB 3.0 Drives
Input 10 to 36VDC  4.25W Compatible with 12V, 14V, 24V, and 28V Aircraft Power Systems
Temperature Range Operation: -40°C to +85°C (-40°F to 185°F) Storage: -55°C to +105°C (-67°F to 221°F)
Dimensions L, W, H 5.00” x 5.00” x 1.85” / 127mm x 127mm x 47mm
Weight 22.5oz / 638g

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Recorders Brochure – Click to Enlarge


Crusader Recorder Brochure

Geospatial Brochure - Click to Enlarge

Geospatial Brochure – Click to Enlarge

ALE Brochure - Click to Enlarge

ALE Brochure – Click to Enlarge

Customer Profile - Due North Aviation - Click to Enlarge

Customer Profile – Due North Aviation – Click to Enlarge